Green roofs reduce stormwater run-off, cool cities and cut energy costs. They also cost more than conventional roofs. Mark Boyer, head of the landscape architecture department, has designed two research initiatives to quantify the benefits of green roofs:
Gatehouse green roofs: In 2006 more than 6,000 Fame flowers, sedums and other succulents were planted on the roofs of two new buildings in the Gardens, the tailgating area on the south side of the University of Arkansas campus. The two installations have allowed Boyer and his students to experiment with growing media and pinpoint which plants thrive in this area with minimum maintenance.
Mock green roofs: Fifteen mock green roofs were built, planted and installed at the university's Agriculture Experiment Station in fall 2008. This controlled experiment is designed to yield quantifiable data on how green roofs impact water quality, water quantity and the timing of peak flow during and after a storm event.